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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Tonight's Dinner: Invented by Me Edition

So, I was having a less than inspired day today. My new afternoon class is full of kids who have a lot of very strong personalities and they require more finessing than your average bunch of preschoolers. So getting home and cleaning house and supervising homework and trying to do some research for an upcoming Veteran's Day celebration made dinner sort of a last minute affair here.

Cue the pressure cooker!

Actually cue the exact opposite of what I would normally do on a stressful night by making something new and sort of fussy. I decided to finally try and make risotto. I needed the zen calming of the constant stirring and besides the chicken was defrosting anyway, so what the heck, right? I had bought a jar of arborio rice a few months ago from a company called RiceSelect and I've been told by my BFF Kayla that risotto is pretty easy and I should just suck it up and try it. That's the kind of advice a best friend can give you, quit your whining and do your thing, girl.

So the instructions of the Arborio rice did not inspire confidence, I have to admit. Here they are in their entirety.

1 C uncooked Rice
2 Tb Olive Oil
2 TB butter
1/2 C chopped onion
3 C chicken stock or vegetable broth, salt and pepper optional

1. Saute onion in oil and butter for 3 minutes. (Out of butter, I used bacon grease and olive oil)
2. Add rice, stirring for about 2 minutes.
3. Stir in one cup of broth. Continue cooking and stirring until liquid is absorbed.
4. Gradually stir in remaining broth one cup at a time, cooking and stirring until liquid is absorbed before adding the next cup.

Yields approximately 3 cups of cooked rice.

Here's my problem. How long does the rice need to cook? To what temperature should I turn the dial of my stove-top?

I sauteed my onion and gave it a whirl, continually stirring except for momentary breaks to turn the microwave back on during the defrost cycle or to quickly chop a tomato for the chicken, and once to throw the chicken pieces (drumsticks) into the pressure cooker. Once the rice appeared done I grated in some fresh parmesan cheese and then put a lid on the pot, placed it off the heat on a back burner and concentrated on my chicken.

I took my defrosted chicken pieces and salted, peppered and rosemaried them. I sprinkled them with Italian seasoning blend and then browned them in the pressure cooker. When they had some good color on them I added a whole chopped tomato and half of a chopped green pepper plus 2 teaspoons (or so) of tomato paste. I then added a half cup of water and a teaspoon of chicken bullion as well. I popped the lid on and cooked under high pressure for 6 minutes and then allowing it to come to natural pressure release.

I served the chicken over the rice, reduced the sauce in the pressure cooker by turning it up to simmer, and served it with a side of (the last of) the turnip greens. The kids also had some applesauce with their meal.

In the future when I make this again (and I will make this again) I will add some baby carrots to the pot and place the chicken on top, straining out the carrots to serve as a side dish.

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